79 Keen St Lismore NSW

Natural and Organic Skin Care: Product Terminology

Posted on 09 January 2017 by Marie Hunter

Organic, certified organic, ethical, cruelty free, vegan - this minefield of terminology with natural and organic skin care products can be overwhelming and can create confusion regarding truly organic products. This article aims to bring you up to speed with the basic terminology of natural and organic skin care products and empower you with the knowledge to make educated decisions with your purchases.

Natural and Organic Skin Care Terminology


The term 'organic' refers to a product or ingredient in a product that has been grown without synthetic fertilisers, pesticides or hormones. This term is often used where a product is known to be organically sourced, but has not undergone formal accreditation to confirm that it is certified as organic. 

Certified Organic

When considering natural skin care products, the term 'certified organic' holds strong significance as a valuable natural ingredient. When the term 'certified organic' is used, it indicates that the particular product or product ingredient has been grown without synthetic fertilisers, pesticides or hormones and has undergone a formal accreditation process to be recognised as being grown in this manner. 

It is often a lengthy and costly process for a product or ingredient to become 'certified organic' so manufacturers usually proudly display this on their label. While individual ingredients in a product can be certified organic, when a whole product is certified organic manufacturers will often display the logo of the certifying body on the front of the product.

In Australia, accreditation bodies for certified organic products include The National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia (NASAA) and Australian Certified Organic (ACO). You will also find international products using logos from various organic certifying bodies including (but not limited to) USDA Certified Organic (USA), Canada Organic and ECOCert (EU).


The term 'ethical' or 'ethical manufacture' refers to a product that has been developed without harm to or exploitation of humans, animals or the natural environment. While this term is often used in the manufacture of textiles and clothing, this term is often used for products (such as palm oil) that have a history of exploitation of the environment.

Cruelty Free

The term 'cruelty free' refers to a product that has not been tested on animals nor contains cruelty-derived ingredients. The term cruelty free is often used by natural and organic cosmetic manufacturers as this industry has an unfortunate history of cruelty to animals. Manufacturers can obtain an accreditation for their  cruelty free products through Choose Cruelty Free Australia (CCF), these natural and organic skin care products will often display the 'cruelty free' bunny logo on their products.


A vegan product is one that contains NO animal products at all, including bee's wax or honey. More and more natural and organic skin care products today are vegan and while many will not advertise this, others will choose to use a logo to indicate that their product is made from entirely plant based ingredients. There are quite a few different logos used for vegan products, the most common being vegan.org Certified Vegan Logo and The Vegan Society Vegan Trademark. We do, however suggest reading the ingredients or using the guidelines in our article Finding Vegan Products in Our Online Store for easy identification of vegan products.


Phew! We hope to have cleared up a little confusion with the terminology regarding natural and organic skin care products. Remember, if you are unsure about the ingredients, please ask us in our health centre in Lismore.


Marie Sundala Health 

 About the Author

Marie is a busy mum with teenage boys and has a penchant for all things natural and feminine. Often quietly buried under a pile of virtual paperwork, Marie's talent for organisation and quick thinking make her an invaluable member of the Sundala family. When she is not answering emails or wrestling with accounting work, Marie can be found at home with her family, preparing delicious healthy and nutritious food. Oh, and she just loves researching new products and trying them out.



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